top of page

The Northeast Pioneer Square Framework Plan

A visionary project that aims to shape the future of this vibrant area in Seattle. 

With a focus on unique public spaces, government services, residents, small businesses, and development potential, this plan positions Northeast Pioneer Square as a gateway to the City of Seattle. Join us in our community-driven journey towards recovery and transformation.

Our Vision

Our vision for Northeast Pioneer Square begins by recognizing and honoring the Indigenous peoples connected to this land past, present, and future. As a vital transportation hub, the seat of local government, and a welcoming place to live, work, and play, our neighborhood is a gateway to the city of Seattle and beyond. Art and architecture showcase the neighborhood’s rich history, creating an urban oasis with reverence for this area’s many histories and cultures. The collective presence of our diverse community is reflected in our vibrant public spaces, thriving local businesses, and organizations serving people in need.

Historical Context

The area has a rich and complex history dating back at least 10,000 years when ancestors of today’s Duwamish and Suquamish people settled here. Throughout much of the year, Indigenous men, women, and children traveled the region’s waterways to fish, hunt, gather bounty, trade, and visit. During winter, they erected longhouses in villages. Djijila’letc, translated as “Little Crossing-Over Place,” was one such village, located amidst a lagoon, tidal flats, and towering trees in what is today

Pioneer Square.

Learn More

Current Neighborhood

Now home to a variety of businesses, government services, art galleries, artist studios, social services,
and residents, Northeast Pioneer Square is uniquely positioned as the gateway between the broader Pioneer Square neighborhood, the Chinatown-International District, and Downtown Seattle. As a tourist destination, the area also draws many visitors each year, making solutions to the shared challenges more complicated and underscoring the need for collaboration.

Learn More
Seattle Pioneer Square totem

Our Work

This framework plan synthesizes the needs of residents, businesses, and service providers by consolidating years of policy direction and planning with new community-driven initiatives. These plans have shaped what the area is today and what is envisioned for the future. This work also considers the near-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that continue to affect the daily lives of those within this area, along with mid- and long-term objectives that will help the district evolve over time.

Learn More

Goals and Objectives

Act Together Quickly

Identify “quick wins” that can be implemented at low cost within 12-18 months.

  1. Create more avenues for dialogue

  2. Conduct a coordinated, public/private “full court press” to re-establish maintenance and safety

  3. Improve lighting to invite more people, especially during the darker winter months

  4. Activate public spaces

  5. Improve the visibility in and safety

Elevate Diverse Histories and Cultures

Acknowledge Pioneer Square’s Indigenous history and diverse cultural significance by incorporating stories, art, and interpretive elements in public realm improvements and through storytelling.

  1. Rename public spaces to acknowledge the area’s diverse history

  2. Promote and expand knowledge of the history of the area

  3. Improve public spaces using historic materials

Make Every Block Safe and Accessible

Address community concerns about safety and neighborhood access for residents, employees and visitors.

  1. Increase foot traffic and activities along public streets

  2. Improve lighting in public spaces

  3. Improved relationships between neighborhood businesses, services, and sports venue

Seattle downtown arial for City Hall Park Vicinity website

Provide a Full Range of Housing Types

Diversify housing options by providing workforce and market-rate housing options in and near the Northeast Pioneer Square area.

  1. Increase the number of housing options in the area

  2. Advocate for revised regulatory requirements to support housing options

Diversify Employment Opportunities

Increase the number of business and employment opportunities in key ground floor and upper stories of buildings.

  1. Support existing small businesses

  2. Attract new businesses to the area

Reduce Inequities While Supporting Those Most in Need

Collaborate with human service providers to broaden poverty and mental health services in and around Northeast Pioneer Square.

  1. Increase access to local and regional services

Create Gateways

Improve the visibility and identity of Northeast Pioneer Square by entries into the district.

  1. Activate and highlight district edges

  2. Rebrand and manage the area’s public spaces

  3. Highlight transportation as a defining feature of the area

Seattle space needle skyline

Make Art Visible

Highlight local artists and creativity.

  1. Provide opportunities for temporary and pop-up art

  2. Identify locations for permanent art installations

Establish and Maintain Beautiful Civic Spaces

Improve access and amenities that makes streets and parks desirable for pedestrians.

  1. Acknowledge and celebrate that Northeast Pioneer Square is the front door to democracy and government’s process

  2. Improve the business and visitor environment through active management and technical assistance

  3. Invest in a high-quality, well-maintained, seamless public realm

  4. Increase activation and programming

  5. Improve tree and vegetation management

  6. Align public realm investments with Federal accessibility requirements

  7. Improve retail frontages

Prioritize People Walking, on Bikes, and On Transit

Focus on making every street safe, attractive and connected for pedestrians, cyclists and those accessing transit.

  1. Increase communication about multimodal planning

  2. Create safer streets through traffic calming

  3. Support pedestrian connections through the area

Questions or comments? 

What's Next?

Pioneer square Seattle downtown City Hall Park

This framework plan represents a snapshot in time and reflects the community’s commitment to recover and transform. Existing and future residents, businesses, property owners, service providers, and City and County governments all have a role in moving this framework plan forward.

The next phase of this framework plan relies on the sustained involvement of actively engaged stakeholders who are committed to seeing that goals and actions are implemented over time. Under the Alliance for Pioneer Square’s stewardship, this framework plan will continue to represent the myriad voices of Northeast Pioneer Square, and advocate for the resources needed to drive lasting neighborhood recovery and transformation.

Project Plans

Our Partners

City of Seattle logo
Alliance for Pioneer Square Logo
Historic South Downtown logo
Broadview Planning Logo
MIG Logo
bottom of page